Here’s what I will miss about South 6th Street. My neighbor, Benito, comes over to bring me cilantro seed. He sees me in the dirt with my barn boots on, dirt smeared on my eyebrow. Making himself comfortable at the edge of the mess (AKA garden), he asks what I am doing. Unfortunately I have to weed my garden before I can actually plant a garden. He tells me I have a lot of weeds. Thank you Benito. Then he says, “You going to pull this one?”
I glance at the weed he’s touching which looks like one of the fifty et cetera plants I need to get rid of to actually grow some food.
Yep, I tell him and I know he’ll probably tell me that I could actually eat it.
He says, “Really? This one? It’s a little tree.”
Yep, I tell him, it’s probably a volunteer plum and I already have nursed enough little sprouts to sapling size. How many plants must I save in this world? I’m going to pull it.
I am trying to get the plot weeded before dark and having a hard time keeping my rhythm and the conversation going. Benito is usually fine with talking while I work.
“No, not a plum. This is a peach tree…durazno. I have two over at my house.”
I look over and see the willow-ish leaves hanging from a single foot-tall stick growing out of the ground. The edge of each shiny leaf is coral orange and somewhere way back in my memory, I remember the way the leaves of a peach tree hang, shaggy and wispy. It must’ve sprouted from kitchen scraps I threw on the garden last year. Likely being organic, the peach had the opportunity — if given the right conditions which happen somehow to be in my garden in western Washington — to sprout. I don’t even remember buying peaches from the food co-op last year.
“If you don’t want it, I will take it,” Benito says and grabs a shovel. He digs up the miracle sprout. “You come back in ten years and I will give you a peach,” he says over his shoulder, walking out of my yard with a huge clod of dirt and the baby peach tree bouncing like a puppy in his hands.
I don’t even doubt that he would.